Jim Barnett is departing from his Vermont GOP-chairman post at the end of the month to go to work for Sen. John McCain. "Mad Dog," as we call him, will be the New England top dog/boss for McCain's "exploratory" 2008 presidential committee. Congratulations, James!
It was not a good November for Republicans, concedes the Barre boy, but the GOP did better in Vermont than anywhere else in New England. Just ask Scudder Parker and Matt Dunne, eh?
Said Mad Dog to Freyne Land on Wednesday afternoon:
"In relative terms, we had a respectable showing, the best of any Republican Party in New England, although we’re disappointed with some of the results. It was a tough year. We saw the effects of that nationally and especially in the Northeast. I think we have a lot to be proud about when you get down to looking at the party infrastructure and how it’s improved over the past three-and-a-half years.
"We made immense progress, a near tripling of our number of donors to the state party. Dramatic improvement of our voter file [and] the programs we implemented at a grassroots level. All of these things are laying the foundation for many years to come for a stronger and more successful party."
John McCain, eh?
"He’s looking very, very good at this point. There’s a long way to go, but I think the American people know, respect and have great admiration for Sen. McCain. I think in these times when the country is divided, it’s going to take someone like Sen. McCain to bring us together and lead us effectively in the future."
By our count, McCain turned 70 in August.
"You know, Ronald Reagan was 72 when he was reelected to a second term and I think he did a pretty fine job."
How much does it pay?
"You can check the FEC reports."
You've been wanting to leave Vermont?
"Oh, no. That’s one of the unfortunate facts of the job - that it will take me out of my native state... Still part of my repertoire here, as part of the New England Region, so I’ll be in close contact."
What do you think, gang, - Vermont GOP loss, right?